Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Day 10- Why Am I Doing This?

Welcome to Day 10 of Advent Countdown. You may be wondering about the post title. No, it isn't me raising the white flag and calling it quits. Today we'll be looking at the history of the advent calendar, how it came to be- resulting in me coming to make my own attempt at one centuries later.

Well let's start at the beginning. Advent means 'the coming' in Latin. Advent itself has been observed since around the fourth century, when newly converted Christians would prepare themselves for baptisement.

During the Middle Ages, it gained an association to the Second Coming. The advent period was celebrated from the eleventh of November until Christmas Day, and was a time where Christians would observe lent, spending the days fasting and in worship.

The actual calendar itself was first created in the the nineteenth century, by German Protestants. They would mark the days on their doors in chalk. 

Credit: http://leggereper.wordpress.com/creativita-si-impara/
The first printed advent calendar was created in the early twentieth century, by Gerhard Lang. It was inspired by a calendar his mother had made him during his childhood- with 24 coloured drawings and  sweets stuck on a piece of cardboard. Lang added the doors- which are now traditional on any modern day calendar. It spread throughout Europe and North America, and originally used images from the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible). FYI, the first chocolate advent calendar was created in the 1950's.

Advent wreaths have their own origins. They first appeared in folk traditions of Northern Europe, where lit candles were placed in wreaths made of evergreen. Both the shape and the material represented eternal life, and the candles were used for practical reasons too. They provided light during the short, dark, winter days and nights. 

Eastern Europeans adopted the tradition, and by the sixteenth century, they became basically what they are today. The four candles represent peace, hope, love and joy.

And there you have it- the origins of Advent Countdown. I hope you found it interesting, and maybe even learned something today. I know I did.

See you all tomorrow for Day 11 of Advent Countdown. We're getting there. Slowly but surely, we're getting there.




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